06/02 : Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales

This report from the Arboleas Group is not from Dave E-B who had to visit the vet. (he's alright, Dave, that is, the condition of the vet is not reported) and even now is winging his way towards a frozen Blighty. Better him than me! So, many thanks to Mary Taylor for this report. Without wishing to cast asparagus on the identification abilities, it is remarkably early for a Whinchat, are the observers sure it wasn't a well marked female Stonechat? Below the text, there is the list of species that they saw.

Unfortunately Dave and Gilly couldn’t be with us today.  Dave had a last minute appointment for the hospital following some chest pains last week.  He sent a text to say he’s OK and hopes to be with us again shortly.  Brian was handed the responsibility of being leader for the day.

Nine members met at the Cafe in Pujare before visiting the first hide.  The weather was extremely windy with large waves making bird watching difficult.  The water level in the salina was quite high.  Initially few birds were visible with only 9 flamingos  present but once we got our eyes in searching the sheltered areas we spotted black-tailed godwit, shelduck, grey heron and kentish plover. Braving the open water was a small flock of five teal. A southern grey shrike took advantage of a fence post as a vantage point.

At the second hide a couple of slender-billed gulls came along side the hide in the ditch searching for food.  Our ubiquitous friend the stonechat made the occasional appearance perching atop scrubby bushes.  Brief sightings of flitting birds included Dartford warbler, sardinian warbler and thekla lark.

We were greeted by a small band of three workers at the final hide as they sat sheltered from the wind eating their breakfast/lunch.  From the hide we were heartened by views of generous flocks of birds sheltering in the lee of the islands and spits.  Now we knew where the flamingos were.  There must have been around 150-200 flamingos (we need Gilly back for an accurate leg count!)  There were many lesser black-backed gulls, black-headed gull and the occasional yellow-legged gull.  Brian spotted a lone oyster catcher (bird of the day?).  In the shrubbery a small flock of greenfinches were feeding.  One particular male was in full colour and caused some discussion owing to its bright yellow/green colouring ( giving a yellow appearance).

The lake at Morales produced white-headed duck, black-headed grebe, little grebe, chiffchaff, moorhen and coot.  Flying overhead were the occasional crag martin, a house martin and a barn swallow. Behind us on the open ground a bluethroat was spotted and a little further down the track a few golden plover.  In a small wet scrape a redshank and a little ringed plover fed together. Just before we returned to the cars Colin and Alan both separately spotted a whinchat.

A sunny but difficult day rewarded with 45 species in total.

We look forward to seeing Dave soon but do take your time, we wish you well. Which I second (Andy)

List of birds:-
Black-tailed godwit
Kentish plover
Grey heron
Southern grey shrike
Slender-billed gull
Yellow-legged gull
Little egret
Thekla lark
White wagtail
Black headed gull
Lsr black-backed gull
Grey plover
Dartford warbler
Sardinian warbler
Black redstart
Spotless starling
Tern (Type unidentified)
Little grebe
White-headed duck
Black necked grebe
Crag martin
Barn swallow
House martin
Cettis warbler (heard)
Golden plover
Little stint
Ringed plover

From the car on the way home a first/second year golden eagle was spotted by Brian and Mary.

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